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Employee Relations: Whether Time or Money Is More Important To You Could Mean the Difference in Your Overall Happiness

Original post ubabenefits.com

This isn’t a question of whether you would rather have more time or money, but which do you value most? In an example used from an article titled, “Valuing your time over money may be linked to happiness” on CNN’s website, living in the city near work means less commuting time, but the cost of your home could be higher. Conversely, living in the suburbs may be cheaper, but it will take more time to get to work. Determining this preference is what University of British Columbia researchers tried to find in their study on happiness.

When pondering which you prefer, don’t think of it in terms of a one-time thing such as flying on a commercial airline, where it is often both cheaper and faster than, say, driving. Think of it in terms of an either/or situation.

As you might expect, most people valued time over money, but what you might not expect is that, according to the study, prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness. In addition, if people in the study were older and retired or nearing retirement, then they said that time was more important than money, whereas younger people said the opposite.

This makes sense, right?  If you’re older and getting ready to retire, then you’ve probably made enough money to retire and you want more time to pursue your endeavors. If you’re young, you think you have all the time in the world, but probably not enough money to do what you want.

Interestingly, researchers discovered that both men and women valued time over money regardless of their income levels. The study, according to the article, focused on working adults who could make more money, or decide not to. In America, according to Gallup, adults working full-time average 47 hours per week – up an hour and a half from a decade ago. And Expedia.com reported that Americans take fewer vacation days versus their international counterparts.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. If you believe the old saying that money can’t buy happiness, does that mean that time can buy happiness? Probably not, but depending on how you spend your time, it might.

A Harvard Business School professor said that people tend to be happier when spending money on experiences, such as a vacation, or simply dinner with friends, instead of on “things.” Maybe it’s because you’re essentially buying time rather than a material possession.

Now that I’ve weighed which I’d prefer, I think I’ll keep that a secret and just say that I’d rather have more of both.